2022 has already been one of the toughest years Mission Services of Hamilton has experienced, as we are seeing increased need at our food bank and in our food programs. Further, the costs of food and lack of supply has complicated how we feed our clients and ensure the food bank has enough for the overwhelming numbers we see daily.
Seven million Canadians reported going hungry at least once since March 2020, and 23% reported not eating as much as they should because they didn’t have enough money for food. Unsurprisingly, 61% of Canadians cite the cost of housing as the reason they cannot afford enough food.
But this isn’t new to Mission Services. Food insecurity has been on the rise over the past several years. Now, due to the pandemic and rising costs of living, food insecurity has increased drastically.
In 2021 we saw a 31% increase in visits from 2020, and added 1,283 new families, with most citing inflation and housing prices as their reason for newly accessing food banks.
If the trends we’ve seen in the first half of 2022 continue, we expect to see a further 25% increase in visits by the end of 2022.
Food insecurity is a complex issue, and addressing food insecurity goes beyond just being able to access healthy food. To become truly food secure, individuals need to have an adequate, secure income and housing, safe water, engagement in their community, and more.
Since March 2020, you like so many Hamiltonians have stepped up to support our neighbours in need. We know how to shorten the lines at Mission Services: basic income programs, real affordable housing, strong mental and physical health programs, solid governmental supports from all levels to charities and the end of price gouging during a pandemic and sky-rocketing inflation. Now we need political willpower.